Gamers Discover Two New Planets by Playing a Browser GameS

It's been a banner week for gamers and "doing things that count in the real world." First, they solve a decades-old scientific AIDS stumper using Foldit, and now, they've discovered two new possibly Earth-like planets.

For a couple years now, NASA has been running the Kepler Mission, which gives "citizen scientists" access to photographs taken by the Kepler Space Telescope with the hope that they will discover habitable new planets. Sister site io9 reports that by playing the Kepler Mission's browser-based game Planet Hunters, citizen scientists have found two new planets outside of our solar system.

The Kepler team at NASA has been overwhelmed with data, and has turned to essentially crowdsourcing the research on the project, which otherwise would require a prohibitive amount of manpower. Behold, the power of gaming!

Next up: figuring out how to enable the right mouse button in Facebook games.

Citizen Scientists may have found two new Earth-like planets, using Planet Hunters [io9]


You can contact Kirk Hamilton, the author of this post, at kirk@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.